Sharad’s group is real JD (U), says Lalu, asks Nitish to contest on BJP’s lotus symbol

Within hours of the JD (U) national executive endorsing a proposal for the party to join the BJP-led NDA, the RJD chief described the Sharad Yadav-led group as the ‘real JD (U)’ and custodian of its poll symbol ‘arrow’.

india Updated: Aug 19, 2017 19:16 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
Anirban Guha Roy
Hindustan Times, Patna
Sharad Yadav,Lalu Prasad,Bihar CM Nitish
JD (U) ‘dissenter’ Sharad Yadav (second from right) with RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. (PTI file photo)

On a day when dissenting JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav skipped the national executive meeting of the Nitish Kumar-led JD (U) and held a ‘parallel’ Jan meet of his supporters, he found an immediate backer in RJD chief Lalu Prasad.

Within hours of the JD (U) executive endorsing a proposal for the party to join the BJP-led NDA, Prasad described the Sharad Yadav-led group as the ‘real JD(U)’ and custodian of the JD (U)’s poll symbol ‘arrow’.

“Nitish Kumar has joined the BJP and he should now contest election on the lotus symbol of the saffron outfit. Sharad Yadav‘s party is the real JD (U) and the actual owner of the poll symbol of the party,” Prasad said, hinting that factionalism within the JD (U) might lead to a split in the party.

For its part, Sharad’s group indicated that it would approach the Election Commission (EC) to claim the arrow symbol, which is claimed by the Nitish Kumar led ‘official’ group.

To underscore Sharad group’s claim to be the ‘real’ JD(U), the RJD chief recalled how Yadav, the socialist veteran, was the founding member of the original Janata Dal and CM Nitish Kumar’s Samata Party, an outfit launched in 1994, had merged with it in 2003, to form the JD (U).

Claiming CM Nitish Kumar was now “scared” of Sharad, after he undertook a statewide tour to “expose” Kumar for joining hands with the BJP and “betraying the people’s trust”, Lalu said he had invited Sharad to participate in the RJD’s anti-BJP rally in Patna on August 27.

He also said his son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s state wide ‘Janadesh Apman Yatra’, in protest against Nitish’s decision to quit the grand alliance (GA) and form a new government with the BJP, late last month, was getting spontaneous support of the people.

On the other hand, Sharad, backed by suspended JD(U) MP Ali Anwar, former minister Ramai Ram and JD (U) units in other states, has said that the Mahagathbandhan was alive “I am the real JD (U) and still part of the GA. CM Kumar’s JD (U) is sarkari JD (U), which has joined hands with the BJP,” he said.

Sharad’s supporters had put posters in the city, earlier this week, saying ‘Mahagatbandhan jari hai, (GA is alive), to portray how Sharad was pitching in for larger unity among anti-BJP forces to take on the NDA.

Also, earlier this week, Sharad had organised the ‘Sanjhi Virasat Bachao’ programme in New Delhi as an attempt to forge unity among opposition forces at the national level, including the Congress, to save India’s composite culture and diversity.

During the event, attended by top opposition leaders, Sharad had accused the BJP of tinkering with country’s secular fabric and diversity, by pushing its ‘divisive’ agenda through its religion based politics.

Congress Bihar unit president Ashok Choudhary tried to play safe on Sharad’s meeting in Patna on Saturday, stating that it was a political event called by the socialist veteran. He, however, appeared to avoid taking sides between Sharad and Nitish.

Asked whether the Congress considered Sharad as part of the grand alliance, as being claimed by the latter, Choudhary said this was already clear as party’s vice president Rahul Gandhi had attended Sharad’s meeting in New Delhi.

First Published: Aug 19, 2017 19:16 IST